QI presenter Sandi Toksvig called for more women on panel shows to balance out “testosterone-fuelled jokes”.
The TV star, who made her debut as new presenter of The Great British Bake Off this year, recently replaced host Stephen Fry on the hit comedy quiz show and urged more female stars to follow in her footsteps.
While she said there did not need to be an obligatory quota for gender balances, she told Radio Times magazine: “We do need to encourage more women and one of the ways to do that is to make sure they’re comfortable.
“This series of QI we have more women on the show than ever, including women who haven’t done it before, like Claudia Winkleman, who was triumphant.
“The boys can get a bit giddy with their testosterone-fuelled jokes and we need to make sure there’s space for the women to get in as well. I think the secret is to have more women in host positions.”
While she said the prospect of taking over from Fry’s 13-year stint at the helm of the comedy contest has been a “daunting” one, she added: “When it’s going well, it’s a bit like flying or surfing a great wave”.
Speaking of her new Bake Off role, alongside co-presenter Noel Fielding, she said it was the emotional side that she was not prepared for.
Toksvig melted the hearts of viewers as the competition heated up, often announcing the eliminated contestant with a side helping of tears.
“I didn’t know I would be as invested,” she confessed.
“I’m quite an emotional person but I had no idea that the drama would be so gripping. And when you see a young person go out of the show, who has spent all their spare money on buying ingredients so they can practise, and who has given their soul to it, it does break your heart.”
Months after filming and airing the competition – its first series on Channel 4 – she said she and Fielding were in the process of “planning a holiday” with show judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
:: Radio Times is out now.